Pattern: Belladone from Deer&Doe
Fabric: Cotton from Village Fabrics in Wallingford
I spent aaaaages trying to find a pattern to make a dress for my work Christmas party. Once I'd whittled out the ones that just wouldn't work with my figure, and the ones using terrifying floaty fabrics, I wasn't left with much. Luckily I stumbled across Belladone from the wonderful Deer&Doe. It's a simple enough construction, to be made from a sturdy fabric, but that back opening is enough to make it party and beautiful.
I found some great fabric in Mason's - blue and gold, really snazzy and festive but once I started sewing I realised it had a weird diagonal stretch to it and just wasn't going to create the neat, crisp lines required for Belladone. So it has been relegated to cushions. With only two weeks to go until that party, things were getting desperate so we decided to check out Village Fabrics in Wallingford, and what a find! It's no good if you're after fancy fabrics, but if you want a comprehensive range of cottons, then this is quite the goldmine. The one I chose is black with stripes of grey and a bronzey-gold with a slight shimmer. I wanted to bring in a bit more colour and so opted for a burgundy satin bias binding which really highlights the awesome bits of the dress.
I seem to have a repeat problem with dresses. I'll cut out what I think is the right size, try on the bodice part way through only to find it's way too small, so let out some darts, and then when I've finished, realise the dress is too big and have to take it in! I'm really not sure how this always happens but I might just have to start trusting to fate a bit more. Although that makes me nervous.
I eventually got the fit of this dress to be really nice and I'm very pleased. The top part of the zip could be neater, but otherwise I think it's great! I was worried that it wouldn't look party enough as I was told that people "go all out" at this work do, but on the night I felt great in it.
The Deer&Doe patterns are in French (although I believe soon to be translated in to English) but this posed no problem at all. The diagrams are so clear and comprehensive that I just followed them and ignored the text. It probably helps that I've made a few dresses already so had an idea of what was happening, but even the complex back section really wasn't an in issue. I've spoken with Eleonore of Deer&Doe recently and she's just as sweet and lovely as her patterns so I heartily recommend supporting this great indie designer.
And look - not all the photos are taken against the feature wall. Proof that I do leave the house sometimes.
|The front and, of course, the pockets|
|Close-up of the main event. And the zip that's not so good.|
I also put it through some fairly rigorous testing and I'm pleased to report no amount of AC/DC or Alice Cooper could break this dress.